Liang jury enters day 2

Updated: 2016-02-10 16:32


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A jury weighing the fate of a Chinese-American New York City police officer charged with shooting and killing an unarmed man in a public housing stairwell in 2014 was sent home for the day on Tuesday evening.

After hearing instructions from the judge, the 12-member panel deliberated for about an hour Tuesday in Officer Peter Liang's trial.

The 28-year-old officer faces manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and other charges in connection with the November 2014 death of Akai Gurley.

Before delivering his instructions to the jury, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun dismissed one of two misdemeanor counts Liang faced, saying prosecutors failed to meet their burden of proof in an argument that not rendering medical aid to Gurley in the stairwell was criminal.

Prosecutors argue Liang was acting recklessly when his gun went off in the darkened stairwell and then failed to help the dying man.

The rookie officer's defense attorney has said it is a "terrible tragedy" and not a crime. He urged the jury to acquit Liang.

Liang said that he didn't know anyone was in the pitch-black stairway when he unintentionally fired. The shot ricocheted off a wall and hit 28-year-old Akai Gurley.

Liang testified Monday he was patrolling with his gun drawn and his finger on the weapon's side when a noise startled him. He says he "just turned, and the gun went off."

Liang faces manslaughter, assault, criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment and official misconduct charges. If convicted of the top charge, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

After starting deliberations shortly before 4 pm, the jurors asked for an array of materials, including a copy of the New York Police Department's patrol guide.

They will resume deliberations on Wednesday morning.